The US is tightening regulation standards for managing space debris. NASA announced these guidelines, a revision to a 2001 version of standards, on December 9, 2019.

As the amount of satellites launched continues to grow, with thousands being proposed for launch in LEO in the forthcoming years, the risk for collision with new and existing space debris increases. Stricter guidelines are needed in order to better manage the amount to space traffic that will soon occur, while mitigating the amounts of debris they will yield, as well setting plans of action for moving or removing current and future debris.

These new standards discuss updates to the general activities that were regulated in the past. But they also have added new categories in which to clarify current standards and establish additional mitigation steps for previously unregulated operations. Now large constellations, rendezvous and proximity operations, very small satellites, satellite servicing activities and active debris removal operations will also be regulated.

As new regulations are set forth for activities that have previously gone unregulated, new technologies will be needed, making this an exciting time to be in the industry.

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